Scammer robs woman of wedding ring, $20,000 worth of cash and jewelry

Published: Mar. 16, 2018 at 4:34 PM CDT
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An 80-year-old Davenport woman is heartbroken after falling victim to a scam. Velma Holmes said a man knocked on her door Thursday, dressed as an employee from Iowa American Water Company. According to Holmes, the man said he was checking water meters in the neighborhood.

"He said show me where the meter is at," said Holmes. "So I took him to the basement and he said this is no good, there is a little but of rust right there, we'll have to replace that."

The man told Holmes he needed to cal his co-worker to order a new meter and that they would come back the next day to put a new one in. Holmes believed him and the man left. However, this morning Holmes woke up and realized two hundred dollar bills were missing from her purse. Next, she checked under her bed where she kept a box of money and noticed hundreds of dollars were taken from that too.

Panicked, Holmes checked her jewelry box and said thousands of dollars in jewelry, including her wedding ring had been stolen too.

"My wedding rings, necklaces and different rings that my husband got me for my birthday, Christmas and Valentines."

Heartbroken, Holmes call the Davenport Police Department to report the incident. According to the Better Business Bureau, scams are up 60 percent in the QCA. Director of community relations, Sandra Bowden said residents can never be too careful.

"You have to really be cautious with every phone call, every time someone contacts you on your computer, someone comes to your door, you have to really be on top of it."

Experts encourage customers to make sure the employee has a car with the company name on it. Bowden also recommends calling the company to confirm that the employee is legitimate. However, she urges customers to look up the company number themselves.

"Sometimes they'll try to give you a phone number," Bowden said. "It's probably fake, if they know you're in there checking they will leave."

Friday, Iowa American Water Company issued a statement asking customers to be alert. Officials said their employees will always carry a company-issued photo ID and will never come to a customer's home demanding access or a payment to avoid water shut off. If you are skeptical, you're asked to call them at 1-866-2108 or 563-468-9201.